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the Diseases of
I know of nothing so potent in maintaining good health in laboratory animals
as perfectly constituted food; I know of nothing so potent in producing ill-health
as improperly constituted food. This, too, is the experience of stock breeders.
Is man an exception to a rule so universally applicable to the higher animals?
Major General Sir Robert McCarrison, CIE MD D.Sc LL.D FRCP
Toxemia is a polluted condition of the body's milieu interieur, due to impurities in the bloodstream derived from improperly constituted food and to a lesser extent from other sources.
The diseases of civilization in some cases commence before birth due to malnutrition and toxemia of the mother in pregnancy. From birth onwards they appear in a fairly predictable sequence in the average person and are so common they are generally assumed to be a more or less normal part of human existence. The sequence starts with various minor respiratory infections, proceeding to tooth decay, occasional flu, acne, dandruff, constipation and so on, all considered quite to be expected. As people grow older the more troublesome problems appear, such as premenstrual tension and headaches in women, slowly increasing blood pressure, the need for reading glasses, back problems and so forth. From this stage it is only a short step to arthritis, diabetes, circulatory and digestive problems, ulcers, gallstones, kidney stones, bowel problems, glaucoma, and finally cataracts, prostate disorders, osteoporosis, senility, Alzheimer's disease--if heart attack, stroke or cancer have not already broken the sequence. These are only the common ones, but common or uncommon they are all malfunctions caused by toxemia; they are symptoms of toxemia. Toxemia is the real disease.
The different manifestations of disease, being of mainly dietary origin, vary according to the nature of the dietary faults responsible, and thus different countries and communities display varying disease patterns which differ according to the traditional diets and other living habits which are followed. Whereas, in the Western nations, there was once a distinction between the so-called diseases of affluence and the deficiency diseases common among the poor, today that distinction has just about disappeared due to the improved financial situation of the lower classes, so that now just about everybody can enjoy the pleasures of the "supermarket" Western diet and suffer the diseases of affluence together.
|impurities and deficiencies of the blood (see "Mineral Deficiencies in Chapter 15)|
|dysfunction of normal body processes.|
|society of developed culture, art and science|
Why humans get sick and wild animals do not formula: The art of cooking + the science of chemistry and medicine = toxemia and the diseases of civilization.
Improperly constituted food--to use Dr McCarrison's expression--although life sustaining, is at the same time health destroying because it does not furnish the life-sustaining components in the proper form or quantity, and in addition introduces, directly or indirectly, toxic substances into the bloodstream. Thus the digestive system is constantly overworked and the milieu interieur is constantly in a state of toxemia, the degree of which is dependent on the vitality of the eliminatory organs. The manner in which the body is impaired and the symptoms of impairment displayed are dependent on the degree and nature of the toxemia.
Because there are countless variations in the nature and degree of toxemia, there are countless variations in symptoms, which accounts for why there are so many diseases doctors must try to remember the names of in their mistaken belief that each symptom represents a different disease.
All races of people are sickness prone, some to a greater or lesser extent than others, for the simple reason that humans everywhere tamper one way or another with natural food--mostly by cooking--and often consume food not really suited to their systems at all, in addition to which they practise other harmful habits.
The traditional Western diet--that is, one high in fat, protein, cholesterol, salt, sugar, condiments and so on--contains plenty of nutrients, but in the wrong proportions, too much of it cooked, and too much of it altogether. That the Western diet can sustain health is a fact, but it does so only if the digestive system can perform the difficult task of breaking it down and assimilating it while at the same time effectively disposing of the toxic by-products produced. Thus no matter what the diet, the duration of healthy years and the ultimate duration of life depends on how long the integrity of the body's vital organs can be maintained under whatever strain they may be forced to endure. All forms of animal life respond to unnatural food in the same way. Horses fed on oats and chaff will maintain reasonable health and live for twenty-five years, but on good natural pastures will maintain better health and live for fifty years. Similarly, dogs and cats fed only on canned and packaged foods never display best condition nor live as long as those fed exclusively on raw meat.*
*An example of how imperfectly constituted food eaten by a mother in pregnancy and beforehand can cause physical and mental deformities in the offspring is given from the cat feeding experiments of Francis M. Pottenger, MD, of California. Dr Pottenger conducted experiments involving 900 cats over a tenyear period from 1932-42, having noticed how dietary deficiencies constantly occurred in experimental animals fed on a scientifically formulated, supposedly perfectly constituted diet which contained some cooked food.
On a diet of raw meat and pasteurized milk or on a diet of cooked meat and raw milk, the cats' health deteriorated, whereas cats fed on raw meat and raw milk maintained perfect condition. The offspring of the ailing cats were weak and deformed with slack or perverted interest in sex, and those that survived to adulthood and were capable of breeding produced either stillborn or pathetically weak kittens. There were no further generations of the weakened cats because this generation was incapable of even attempting to breed.
When such cats of the second generation were put on the raw diet, their health improved and breeding from them was successful. However, Dr Pottenger reported that even properly fed, it took four further generations of this group before the line became completely normal again.
Pottenger recorded that when cats were fed raw milk from dry feed cows instead of raw milk from fresh feed cows, they showed deterioration similar to cats fed pasteurized milk. (See Pottenger's Cats, A Study in Nutrition, Price Pottenger Foundation, La Mesa, California.)
Toxins are produced in the body from the best of diets as natural by-products of normal metabolism and are eliminated effortlessly by the organs of elimination without the slightest wear and tear. The toxins that do all the harm leading to premature degeneration and disease are the toxins resultant from eating the wrong food. These toxins are not the chemicals from additives and poison sprays, etc that are in the food to start with, but they are actually produced within the body as by-products of the body's efforts to produce pure nourishment from impure materials. While man-made chemicals in food are undesirable and probably harmful to some extent, so little harm do they cause compared to body-produced toxemia that it is a pointless exercise to be concerned about them without first removing the main factors.
The toxins which are products of normal metabolism arise from two sources::
The abnormal toxins which cause disease when they overload the liver and kidneys and pollute the blood and milieu interieur are:
It can be seen then, that depending mainly on the sort of food eaten from day to day, toxemia within the body can vary over short periods of time from normal safe levels to levels high enough to disrupt bodily functions in many different ways, wearing out its organs and eventually causing death by functional breakdown of the body's life processes. Thus the quality of life and length of its duration may range from zero to perhaps 120 years according to the degree to which toxemia is allowed to exist in the milieu interieur of the body.
The healthiest and longest-lived people in the world are accepted generally to be the Hunzas of northern Pakistan and the people in the Caucasus of Russia, whereas the shortest-lived are the Eskimos and Lapplanders of the Arctic. Sir Robert McCarrison, Major General, Indian Medical Service, described the Hunzas thus:
The diet of these people corresponds in many ways to that of the Sikhs; but they eat less meat, and, their stocks being limited to goats, their consumption of milk and milk products is less than that of the Sikhs. But they are great fruit-eaters, especially of apricots and mulberries, which they use in both the raw and sun-dried state. The power of endurance of these people is extraordinary: to see a man of this race throw off his scanty garments, revealing a figure which would delight the eye of a Rodin, and plunge into a glacier-fed river in the middle of winter with as much unconcern as many of us would take a tepid bath, is to realize that perfection of physique and great physical endurance are attainable on the simplest of foods, providing these be of the right kind. These people are long-lived and vigorous in old age. Among them, the ailments so common in our own people--such as gastro-intestinal disorders, colitis, gastro and duodenal ulcer and cancer--are extraordinarily uncommon, and I have no doubt whatever in my own mind that their freedom from these scourges of modern civilization is due to three things::
- Their use of simple, natural foodstuffs of the right kind;
- Their vigorous outdoor life; and
- Their fine bracing climate.
With the Hunzas resistance to infection is remarkable . . . gastro-intestinal complaints, dyspepsia, ulcers, colitis, and appendicitis are at least as uncommon as they are common elsewhere. Cancer is so rare that in nine years' practice I never came across a single case of it.
The Eskimos* by comparison rated this description by Dr Samuel Hutton, who observed them over the period 1902 to 1913, from his book Health Conditions and Disease Incidence Among the Eskimos of Labrador:
Old age sets in at fifty and its signs are strongly marked at sixty. In the years beyond sixty the Eskimo is aged and feeble. Comparatively few live beyond sixty and only a very few reach seventy. Those who live to such an age have spent a life of great activity, feeding on Eskimo foods and engaging in characteristically Eskimo pursuits . . . Careful records have been left by the missionaries for more than a hundred years.
*The word Eskimo is derived from the language of the Cree Indians and means "eater of raw meat". It should be noted that the descriptions given of both the Hunzas and the Eskimos are those made early in the 20th Century before they began to discard their traditional and more primitive way of life.
It was also noted that the Eskimos had very low resistance to infectious diseases and suffered severe osteoporosis as they got older. A later study of a small population (about 1000) on the east coast of Greenland by Hoygaard and Pedersen, Copenhagen 1941, showed an average lifespan of only twenty-seven and a half years mainly due to premature degeneration of adults. Their diet was ninety-five per cent flesh food but it was not stated whether the Eskimos had adopted the white man's practice of cooking their food.
There is the comparison. Dr McCarrison attributed the excellence of the Hunzas to their diet, outdoor activity and bracing climate, so in view of the fact the Eskimos also indulged in much outdoor activity in a bracing climate, the distinction in their health status compared to the Hunzas is clearly due to dietary differences.
Now the dubious health standards of all "developed" countries are pretty similar to each other and the diseases of civilization occur among them in roughly the same proportions regardless of climate, and only a little influenced by occupation. Clearly diet is the problem, so let us look at a comparison of the typical American diet with that of the Hunzas.
These figures tell us that, on average, Americans consume over four times the amount of fat and twice the amount of protein than that consumed by a Hunza man while at the same time less carbohydrate, most of which is sugar or otherwise refined and fiberless.
Average Daily Kilojoules Fats Protein Carbohydrates Intake (Grams) (Calories) Gm Gm Gm Americans all ages 13,860 157--40% 100--13% 380--47% (3300) Mostly refined Hunzas-- adult males 8,080 36--15% 50--10% 354--75% (1923) Mostly unrefined (Percentages indicate proportion of total kilojoules/calories)
These figures tell us why Americans (and the rest of us) experience weight problems and mediocre health and die of heart disease, cancer and the other diseases of civilisation.
Note: This comparison of the Hunza diet to the American diet is for comparison purposes only, and is not made to convey the impression that the Hunza diet is an optimum one (which it is not). For discussion on what constitutes an optimum diet see Chapter 15.
Protein and Fat as Causes of Toxemia
The main sources of protein and fat in the Western diet are of animal origin and thus contain cholesterol in quantities harmful to the human body. However, many pure vegetarians also suffer toxemia to a dangerous extent because their diet is based heavily on grain products and lentils, which are very high in vegetable protein, and in many cases include liberal quantities of concentrated vegetable oils.
The by-products of the metabolism of fat and protein which are potentially harmful are chemicals called ketones from fat, and uric acid and ammonia from protein. It is mainly these substances in excessive amounts which overtax the kidneys, sometimes to the extent of destroying them. For this reason it is wise for people on the traditional Western diet to drink copious quantities of water to flush out the kidneys. Not only do heavy protein-eaters need to urinate often, their urine is dark in color and odorous. Observers of primitive Eskimos in the early 1900s described how in winter the Eskimos had to go out into the freezing cold at frequent intervals to urinate and how they would return inside bringing snow to make more drinking water.
Apart from the toxins so produced, the condition of the bloodstream can be seriously degraded by particles of fat and cholesterol entering the bloodstream directly from the intestine via the lymph circulation, so much so at times that the blood appears milky red instead of crimson. In this situation the blood's red cells stick together in bunches called rouleaux, which block the fine capillary vessels and deprive the tissues of circulation, causing the tingling sensation of "pins and needles". At the same time the blood platelets also adhere to each other and the blood plasma itself becomes sticky, so up goes the blood pressure as the heart works harder. The white cells of the immune system become inhibited in function as well, and the entire scene becomes a set-up for disaster, disaster meaning every disease in the book. No wonder people lack vitality, need a lot of sleep, catch colds and get headaches, but these are only minor signs of the troubles that lie ahead if the toxemia is allowed to persist.
The most poisonous form of toxemia, however, originates in the colon (large bowel) because of constipation, which on the Western diet is unavoidable due to a lack of dietary fiber. It must be understood that a person can be "as regular as clockwork" and still be constipated. On a natural diet of mainly fruit and vegetables (raw), low in protein and fat, the indigestible cellulose remnants are quickly processed for elimination on reaching the colon by the normal aerobic bacteria there and are then readily defecated, having made the entire transit of the digestive tract in about twenty-four hours. However, when the undigested remnants of a high-fat, high-protein diet arrive in the colon they are difficult to break down further, and the normal aerobic bacteria must change in form to an anaerobic form which putrefies the remnants and produces different acids and toxic chemicals. Because meat, chicken, fish, dairy products and refined carbohydrates are completely lacking in fiber, the process is slow moving. Thus the "transit time" of the Western diet is about seventy-two hours instead of twenty-four, giving the potent toxins ample time to be absorbed into the body by way of the bile circulation and to set up the irritation which leads to appendicitis and bowel cancer.
A graphic illustration of how auto-intoxication from the colon causes all manner of disease is the experience of Sir William Arbuthnot Lane,* the famous English physician and surgeon. Sir William first realized that the bowel was the source of many health problems when, after surgically removing diseased bowels, he noted that his patients' health rapidly improved and various diseases such as arthritis, gall bladder "involvements", thyroid "difficulties", etc disappeared in a few days. At first his surgical training influenced him to specialize in removing peoples' colons, until it occurred to him from the biologist, Sir Arthur Keith's, studies of wild apes that the entire problem could be eliminated simply by dietary means.
*The Prevention of The Diseases Peculiar to Civilization by Sir William Arbuthnot Lane (1929).
That the problem of chemicals such as preservatives, coloring agents, etc: in food is one of relatively minor importance compared to body-produced toxemia is illustrated in some interesting comparisons of disease incidence in different countries. Denmark has very strict prohibition against most food additives, while Norway and Sweden do not. Despite this, Denmark has a cancer incidence twenty per cent higher than Norway and Sweden,* which is explainable by the fact that Denmark per capita consumes twenty per cent more fat in the diet. But another comparison, this time between Denmark and Finland, showed that in relation to colon cancer, meat was a greater danger than fat, because the Finns consumed even more fat than the Danes but had only a quarter as much colon cancer. That Denmark suffers four times the bowel cancer rate of Finland is explainable only by the Danes' much heavier meat consumption (from the International Agency for Research on Cancer 1977).
*Cancer Research, Vol. 35, p. 3379, K. Carroll.
When people speak of "cleansing diets", they mean diets which do not cause toxemia. Cleansing the milieu interieur is performed by the body itself, which of course it is trying to do all the time but can only accomplish properly when freed of constant overloads. The quickest way to achieve inner cleanliness is by not eating anything at all, ie fasting, and consuming water only for an indefinite period, but this requires tuition and supervision and will be discussed later. The role of garlic and other herbs in improving health when used therapeutically seems to be in emulsifying fat in the blood and lowering blood viscosity, but of course the real answer is not to put the fat in there in the first place.
In Western civilization it is well known that women on the average have a lifespan advantage of several years over men mainly because they are less prone to heart disease in their earlier years, but that after menopause they suffer vascular problems at the same rate as men. This protection enjoyed by women is obviously provided by a function males do not experience--menstruation, which is Nature's way of detoxifying a woman's body in preparation for an anticipated pregnancy. The degree of distress experienced in menstruation by some women is proportional to the degree of toxemia existing within them, and it is noteworthy that some women, who by virtue of superior diet are toxin free, suffer little or no discomfort or blood loss with their periods, as is also the case with fit women athletes whose body functions work more adequately to detoxify them all the time. Menstruation should therefore not be considered a 'curse' at all--it is a blessing that protects. It is the Western diet that is the curse. It is noteworthy, too, in relation to the superior health of the Hunzas, that there is also a difference in average life expectancy of about five years between males and females, which in this case favors the males who are by virtue of their occupations far more physically active than the women.
A disease which has not been recognized until recently but which has always been and is becoming still more common is iatrogenic disease, which means disease caused by medical treatment. Many sick people die of what are called "complications", and it is a fact that many such complications consist of metabolic malfunctions caused by medical drugs, all of which are depressants of the immune system. A less frightening example of iatrogenic disease is the frequency of various infections which appear to be contagious among hospital patients while at the same time the doctors and hospital staff remain unaffected.
Medical knowledge of the etiology (underlying causes) of most diseases is practically zero because the practice of medicine is founded on medieval beliefs in devils and potions, and it is significant that the wiser with age and experience a good doctor gets, the less he believes in the efficacy of his potions.
Most of the medicine prescribed by doctors they have little knowledge about other than the sales pitch given them by the pharmaceutical representatives (have you ever perused a medical journal?), but it is a pretty safe bet that if doctors ever studied the fine print in the drug manuals on the side effects of these drugs they would think twice before taking any themselves. It is also a pretty safe bet that if the patients ever got to read the fine print, they would quickly find the strength to run away.
Be that as it may, the main purpose of this chapter is to point out the mostly unsuspected dangers of autointoxication--toxemia generated within the body from our favorite foods--and to warn against the further toxemia produced in the body by the well-meaning efforts of the medical doctors who try to "cure" the effects of the first lot but only make it worse.
John H. Tilden, MD, said it all back in 1926. Summing up in his book Toxemia Explained:
"In chronic disease, the treatment, first, last and all the time, must be with a view of getting rid of the toxemia. This consists of correcting whatever habits of life are producing enervation, and then gradually building up a normal digestion, assimilation and elimination.
After fifty years of floundering in the great sea of medical and surgical speculation to find the causes of so-called diseases, all I could find was that all the people were sick part of the time, and part of the people were sick all of the time. But Glory be, all of the people were not sick all of the time.
Some people got well under my treatment and friends would say that I 'cured' them. Others died, and friends would say that Providence removed them. I knew that I did not cure those who got well, and I did not like to acknowledge even to myself that I had killed those who died.
It took a long time to evolve out of the one conventional idea of many diseases into the truth that there is but ONE disease, and that the four hundred catalogued so-called diseases are but different manifestations of Toxemia--blood and tissue uncleanliness."